I had invitations from at least 3 of my neighbors and (of course) my family to "do" New Year's with them. I turned down all invites to spend time cleaning my place and taking care of some minor writing/reviewing obligations. I'm sure no one "gets" why I ignore these special dates. I will try to explain my reasons.
- New Year's, Valentine's, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc - they are all seen as holidays by most social groups. I think they should be special and I think they should be observed. I just don't like how we tend to observe the dates. For some reason, we feel we ought to get together and be noisy and eat lots of food and go into excess in spending and gift-giving. The more emotionally mature and introspective I become, the more I see these dates as opportunities to get still and quiet and meditative.
- I don't want some things limited to certain dates or times of the year. I think that we ought to spend more than one day a year focusing on being thankful; giving special attention to our significant others; getting together as friends and families for meals; taking time to send someone a note or card telling them we love them; re-evaluating and re-setting goals and resolutions and other ways we plan to improve our lives; and going to church or wherever it is that we worship.
- Instead of buying candy and flowers for our spouses and significant others, maybe we should set some sort of financial goal with them and work together to achieve it. For Christmas, we could focus more on coming together as family and friends to do something for someone - another family or a friend or a stranger in need. I vote to stop buying and giving gifts on a schedule and start being more spontaneous and "real" with our tokens of affection and appreciation. Instead of herding into the grocery stores to make that huge meal a couple times a year, maybe we can buy ourselves some new pots and pans to make meals all year long.
- I'm even over birthdays. Why treat someone special on that one day of the year and treat them as mediocre or non-existent the rest of the time?
- I'm afraid that holidays have become about gratifying inward instead of giving outward. When you celebrate these special times, is about how you made yourself feel rather than how much better you made someone else feel?
I could go on and on (some of you know I can!), but I think you get it. Let's just stop with all the organized, pre-planned, scheduled, rat-on-a-wheel behavior of doing for the sake of doing. Let's maybe start doing things with a real purpose and giving with real love and affection.
If anyone wants to do something for me, I'd love to get a phone call out of the blue or check my mail and find a letter or card. I'd give up every Christmas and birthday gift just to have more genuine, spontaneous love and attention from the people in my life.
Now that I've finished griping outward, I'm going to work on taking my own advice. From here forward, I want to do what the kids like to say and "keep it real".